Entries tagged with: Chan Marshall
by Lukas Hodge
Cold Cave in Winslow / dancers in Pittsburgh / Cat Power in Barstow
Just after you walk through the front doors of the historic La Posada hotel in Winslow, Arizona, a news clipping hanging from a bulletin board reads "Another City too Strong to Die". An interesting statement when you think about it due to the fact that it suggests that in all likelihood, this is not a place that's supposed to still exist. It almost advocates feelings that this is a city stuck swimming upstream. The question is raised, what here is worth preserving? If you ask a local, or even just walk a single block through the small downtown area, you'll understand quickly that the hope of this town rests on a song written by Jackson Browne in 1972. Everywhere you go there are signs advertising the town crux: a street corner two blocks from the train station named "Standin' On The Corner" park. Dedicated to one line in a single song, it's surrounded by murals, shops, and even a bronze statue which may or may not be in Jackson Browne's likeness. The song, is of course, "Take It Easy" as performed by The Eagles. And while no other part of this tour really comes close to the level of polarization created by an arena-filling rock band, the story of Winslow works as an effective allegory to sum up the meaning of why myself or anyone rode a customized train disguised as a moving piece of art, complete with recording studio, post-production office, dining hall, and one of Frank Sinatra's private rail cars, from New York to California.
The answer comes from multi-media artist, Doug Aitken, who's devoted his life to the pursuit of collaboration and performance. The "Happenings", as Aitken branded them, were never overwhelming. The numbers were intentionally kept low at each date allowing every participant a feeling of intimacy with each piece of art they encountered, whether it be a stark and awkward Cat Power set in the backyard of a railroad inn, or a UFO high above the California deserts and a Beck set featuring a full choir. This was most noticeable at the Barstow date, a little over one thousand people showed up to the happening within the walls of at least a 4,000 capacity drive-in theater. It's obvious that Aitken's focus was not on attendance and not on outsiders but on bringing together different artistic communities that would almost never normally interact. And hey, a thousand witnesses can't be a bad thing.
Levi's ®, who made the public art project known as Station to Station possible, had their own tents that resembled nomadic sculptures, known as Yurts set up at each date where independent artists and designers could create their own denim products out of locally sourced goods under the "Makers" brand. To quote Maker Laura Sato via an interview with Vice:
The Makers yurt was Levi's® artistic contribution to Station to Station. Levi's® Makers is a collective of artisan's from across the country who sell their handmade goods under the label of Levi's® Makers.The yurts which were also traveling with the train and acted as evolving installation pieces. The Nomadic Sculptures range from Carsten Höller's yurt pierced with holes that visitors can throw a Frisbee through, to Liz Glynn's creation of the universe that develops at each stop. At some stops, filmmaker Kenneth Anger screened a film in his Yurt.
For the majority of the trip, we had four other Makers along with the Levi's® Tailor Shop who had their stations set up in the yurt. Forestbound (one of a kind tote bags made of salvaged materials), Folk Fibers (hand-stitched, natural dyed quilts), Junkyard Jeans (customized chain-stitch embroidery), and Tangleblue Weavers. We also had a few guests along the way for a couple stops; Cobra Rock Boot Co.(handmade boots), Chimayo Weavers, and Teranishi (leather goods).
The yurt really gave us a platform to create and collaborate while allowing the public to observe our process and ask us questions. I've worked for the Levi's® Tailor Shop making handmade goods for almost three years, but when I met my fellow Makers on this trip it really hit me what a special thing I'm a part of. I got to work and become close with some of the most inspiring and talented people, all of us tied together with the common thread of loving to create and work with our hands. There was definitely a special energy inside the yurt.
Every stop on the trip included a combination of visual arts, installations, and live music, all in a very unforgettable fashion. Some of the Happenings take place inside actual train stations (Chicago, Pittsburgh), while others exist within hubs at the creative centers of communities (Brooklyn, Barstow). How the tour arrives at each stop is the truly unforgettable part. Within each of the nine train cars, each serving a distinct purpose, it was almost impossible to find someone without their face glued to the windows admiring the little seen landscape from up on the rails or with their hands on one of the many interactive tools ("for the modern frontier") made possible by Levi's ®. Included in these was an original 1901 Underwood No. 5 typewriter linked directly to Twitter, a 1939 web-enabled Graflex Speed Graphic still cam for taking Instagram pictures, . and a 1960's Gibson hollow body plugged straight into Soundcloud.
Aitken has repeatedly begrudged the term "tour" and endorses the idea that the project is an entity which "constantly changes". All posturing aside, whatever you want to call it, it's impressive and ambitious. Each station had a very distinct feel and was drastically different from the happening prior. In Brooklyn, it kicked off in a dark noise-filled soundstage on the river with sets from electronic pioneers Suicide, tour staple No Age, and psychedelic locals Ariel Pink (who performed at multiple dates), as well as a youth marching band from Kansas City. By the time it reached Chicago, Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore had joined for his set with drummer John Moloney as Caught On Tape. The Legendary gospel diva Mavis Staples also performed.
As the train rolled on, it finally made its way to the southwest and, in my opinion, its defining showcases. When the train, decorated in highly visible, flashing, LED lights, pulled up on the beautifully restored grounds of the almost century old La Posada hotel (which was the original Winslow train stop) the traveling event arguably achieved its most characterized evening. Between the location of the stage being only a few feet from the train, and the recently restored Inn doubling as a local art museum, this seemed to be the exact platform from which Levi's ® and Station to Station creator Doug Aitken wished to "make their mark". Jackson Browne tossed out a few classics before finally playing "Take It Easy, which resulted in a fevered reaction from every middle aged resident sitting in their lawn chairs. Another tour favorite was Cold Cave, who in Winslow, played atop an elevated platform overlooking a haystack maze full of puzzled onlookers.
One of the main themes being pushed was that the most important part was not the "happening", but what comes after it. For someone like Doug Aitken who's constantly looking forward to the next collaboration or project, it makes sense that the aim of the entire undertaking was to push imagination into the future while taking educated hints from the past. What better place exists than being in a shuttle riding the exact tracks that helped shape the land moving beneath it?
You already saw pictures and heard more about the NYC and Pittsburgh stops and saw a set of pictures from Chicago. More pictures and some videos from the train along with the Chicago, IL, Winslow, AZ, and Barstow, CA stops, below...
photos by Lukas Hodge
Cat Power going 'Station to Station'
When it comes to Cat Power, what do we all REALLY want? We want to hear the Chan Marshall we first fell in love with, the one with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and a microphone. Not surprisingly, her November 14th NYC solo show at Brooklyn Masonic Temple has SOLD OUT. Luckily she added another "special intimate evening with Cat Power solo", though it's a late one (the same night). Tickets for the 11pm NYC show go on sale Tuesday at noon ($40 advance / $45 day of show).
Other dates on the November tour include New Haven, Philly, Ohio, Chicago and the upcoming Elliot Smith tribute at Glasslands (speaking of people we'd love to see play live again with nothing more than an acoustic guitar).
Cat Power at Bonnaroo 2013 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
The brains behind Cat Power, aka Chan Marshall, is about to come to NYC to do a solo set at the Elliott Smith tribute at Glasslands (10/21), but Chan's just announced that she'll be back to play her own songs with an acoustic show at Brooklyn Masonic Temple on November 14. Tickets for that show are on presale now (password: "SUNCAT123").
Cat Power doesn't appear to have any other announced dates at the moment besides the Weezer Cruise.
As many of my fans know, I've been suffering from angioedema. It can attack at random & is extremely frightening and dangerous when it hits my throat, windpipe, or tongue, and I've been hospitalized for it eight times since the first attack, 2 DAYS AFTER MY RECORD RELEASE.Cat Power aka Chan Marshall Instagrammed the above picture and message which announces her European tour cancellation. She previously warned she might cancel, but then said she would go on with a lower budget tour. That obviously didn't work out. Feel better Chan!
Since then, I worked very very hard with all the best allergists, cardiologists, neurologists, accupuncurists, homeopathists & renowned healers that I could find, Body Talk, Reiki, Yoga, etc. so that I COULD DO THIS AMERICAN TOUR.
I did my best & I want to do MORE & BETTER.
The American tour has been wonderful and amazing, and with me being unable to AFFORD to bring my show with full production, (which i helped create) to Europe, financially, really dumped a huge additional amount of stress on me as i was and still am fighting trying to get tour support.
I have to postpone my European tour until early next year, so I can return home and re-engage myself back into my health regimen.
I fucking love my fans.
Everything I do regarding my career, I FIRST, think of my fans and this world we all share.
But right now, I HAVE TO think of myself because I have to learn trough meditation & being clear from alcohol & cigarettes & red meat and lots of rest amongst my menagerie of doctors.... I have to think of MYSELF right now because I have to now LEARN to heal myself.
Through that, I can learn to help others to heal themselves.
I know my fans will understand and I thank them and love them much more than I believe they could ever know.
I am here and do what I do, for them and because of them.
You have kept me alive this long, I refuse to give up on you OR MYSELF.
And that goes to all the journalists who write a true story as well. To you all in the struggle. May light be on your path at every step.
X @mrpharmacist72 @adelineadieu @nicoturner @afasm #catpower #VOTE #OBAMA #FIGHT #THE #POWERS #THAT #BE
Cat Power @ Webster Hall
After a string of shows got canceled this weekend, I was glad that there was at least one that was unaffected by Irene: Cat Power. (Chan Marshall's advice for those living in "hurricane city"? "Don't sleep under a window.")
Friday evening's show at Webster Hall, Chan's second in a row at the NYC venue, began not with Xray Eyeballs (Thursday's opener), but the one-woman act, Vorhees. Though her music is relatively unknown, Dana Wachs has been involved in the scene for a number of years both through her job as a sound engineer at DC's club The Black Cat and through her work on the road with artists like Black Dice, MGMT, MIA, and yes, Cat Power.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a sound engineer, Wachs' music is heavily layered. Still in its beginning stages now, Vorhees dabbles with a number of influences. At its core, it's ambient and droney, but Wachs' chirpy, upbeat vocals recall 80s pop, and her beats bring a little hip-hop flavor.
After playing a handful of original songs, Wachs concluded her short 30-minute set with a Lindsey Buckingham cover and a few words of caution on the weekend's inclement weather.
Cat Power's backing band had already begun to play by the time Marshall walked onto the dimly lit stage. After a quick "hello" to the crowd, she grabbed the mic out of the stand and, dragging the chord behind her, retreated farther into the shadows where she kicked off the show with a couple of ballads, including a grim new song about alcohol, sleeping on the streets, and inescapable memories.
As if to draw as little attention to herself as possible, Marshall had dressed in all black, and her long bangs fell over eyes and covered half of her face. Periodically, she pulled at her clothes, clutching at both the collar of her shirt and her neck as if she were uncomfortable in her very skin despite receiving generous accolades from the crowd every few minutes. ("I love you!" "You're so beautiful!" people cried.)
Not one to bask in the spotlight, Marshall awkwardly shuffled back and forth, obviously favoring the far left and right to the center. Though she often had her back to the audience and hardly made eye contact with her praise-shouting fans, her nervous, self-conscious behavior was strangely intimate (in the way that someone who is confiding something extremely personal will rarely look you in the eye). Here was Chan Marshall in all her beautiful vulnerability. Somehow, her deep, smoky voice seemed even heavier and more world-weary live than recorded.
Though the music was largely subdued and melancholic, every few songs, the band let loose, and there were sudden moments of cacophonous instrumentation - electric guitar riffs, crashing drums.
After playing through a string of covers (from Jukebox) and new songs, Marshall closed the first portion of her set with a dramatic extended version of "Greatest," complete with flashing stage lights and a rowdy instrumental segment. She hardly got out the first few words of the song before the crowd interjected wild cheers. As the song stretched to eight minutes, Marshall simply walked off stage as the band continued to play. One by one, her band mates joined her until only a distorted melody remained to be repeatedly looped. The long wait definitely tested the patience of the audience, but no one seemed to move. (At this point, she had only played for about 50 minutes, or eight songs total.)
Finally after nearly fifteen minutes had passed, Marshall and the band returned to play nine additional songs. For the first time of the evening, Marshall joined in on guitar, at least for a couple of songs.
Between the heaviness of the songs themselves and Marshall's apparent unease, it was not the most uplifting show, but she did pick things up toward the end of the set and eventually made an odd request.
"Can you turn on the houselights? Like all of them?" The house obliged, leaving Marshall to sing the last song ("Don't Blame Me") to an audience bathed in bright lights as if born again. Then, after a series of odd bows, waves, and salutes, she walked away, again leaving her band mates to wrap up the song one by one.
So, was there a big breakdown? Well, no, not unless you count Marshall's periodic disappearances from the stage or the lengthy intermission. But despite the relative stability of her performances now, there remains a soul-stirring sadness in her voice and her delivery that in some ways is as difficult to bear as a show addled by an alcohol-induced haze of forgotten lyrics and on-stage crack-ups.
A video and the night's setlist below...
photos by Andrew Bisdale
Glen Hansard in Temple of Dendur @ The Met -- 5/26/2011
Eddie Vedder will release his second solo album this Tuesday (5/31) Ukulele Songs via Universal, plus a live concert film Water on the Road. The album features guest vocals from Glen Hansard (The Frames, The Swell Season) and Cat Power's Chan Marshall. The DVD, directed by Brendan Canty of Fugzazi and Christoph Green, features performances from Vedder's 2008 solo tour. Ukulele Songs is currently streaming on NPR.
Vedder and Hansard will tour in support of the album this June and July. They will both also perform at the Pearl Jam Labor Day Destination Weekend festival at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, WI on September 3 and 4. Other performers include The Strokes, Queens of the Stone Age, Mudhoney, John Doe, Joseph Arthur, Liam Finn, and special guests to be announced. Tickets go on sale June 4 at 10 AM CST.
Pearl Jam are following the festival with a ten-day Canadian tour and a documentary film, Pearl Jam Twenty, directed by Cameron Crowe. The film will be released with an accompanying book and soundtrack album, for which Cameron Crowe selected the track listing, this fall.
Glen Hansard played a solo acoustic set in the Temple of Dendur at The Met last night (5/26). The show was "in celebration of the exhibition Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York" which is at the museum through July 4th. More pictures from that show, and all tour dates, below...